The Saratoga 150 Committee today announced the two newest inductees to the Hoofprints Walk of Fame at Saratoga Race Course: champion horse Checkmate and Travers winner General Assembly.
Modeled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hoofprints Walk of Fame was installed outside the clubhouse gates to Saratoga Race Course in 2013 in conjunction with the sesquicentennial celebration of the first organized race meeting in Saratoga Springs. The Hoofprints Walk of Fame honors the most prolific and notable horses to compete at Saratoga Race Course. The additions of Checkmate and General Assembly bring the total number of inductees to 40.
The bronze plaques prominently feature the thoroughbred's name alongside the names of its sire, dam, owner, trainer, and jockey. The plaques also feature the horse's year of birth and signature wins at Saratoga Race Course.
“We are thrilled to welcome these champion thoroughbreds to the outstanding class of horses who make up the Hoofprints Walk of Fame at Saratoga Race Course,” said Saratoga 150 Honorary Chair John Hendrickson, who conceptualized the project in conjunction with the Saratoga 150 committee. “These equine athletes competed at their highest level and have become part of the rich history of Saratoga Race Course. It's a privilege to recognize the real stars of this sport at the Hoofprints Walk of Fame where they are permanently enshrined.”
Owned by James T. Williams, Checkmate was trained by James Rowe and ridden by Edward Feakes and Isaac Murphy. He became a multiple stakes winner in 1880, and in 1881 he won seven of his eight races at Saratoga, including four stakes.
Owned by Bertram and Diana Firestone, General Assembly was trained by LeRoy Jolley and ridden by Darrel McHargue and Jacinto Vasquez. His memorable wins include the Hopeful and Saratoga Special in 1978; and the Travers in 1979 where he set a course record at the classic distance of a mile and a quarter which stood until 2016.
The selection committee consists of National Museum of Racing Librarian Allan Carter, racing historian and author Ed Bowen, and turf columnist Michael Veitch.
“It is an honor for the Hoofprints Walk of Fame to welcome Checkmate and General Assembly to the list of thoroughbreds who have made a historic mark at Saratoga Race Course,” said Veitch.
Horses are considered for the Hoofprints Walk of Fame based on their accomplishments in major stakes races at Saratoga Race Course throughout its history of more than 150 years. The selection committee considers additional horses for the Walk of Fame on an annual basis. Among the notable thoroughbreds inducted to the Walk of Fame include Affirmed, Man o' War, Native Dancer and Secretariat.
The 2018 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course, which includes 69 stakes worth $18.8 million in purses, will run from Friday, July 20, through Labor Day, Monday, September 3. After opening weekend, racing will be conducted six days a week, Wednesdays through Mondays. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit NYRA.com/Saratoga.
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